Macramé is the name used for both a type of textile and the process by which that textile is produced.
Macramé, the textile, is produced by joining strands of thread together with a knotting technique rather than more traditional weaving. The most common knots used to create the textile are square, full hitch and double half hitch knots. Using one of these specific knots is not, however, a requirement when creating macramé; indeed many other knots are used when creating specialty pieces. It is at the discretion of the macramé creator as to what type of knot they wish to use to produce a desired effect.
Macramé fabric is made out of many different materials due to the ease in which most things can be knotted together. Cotton, hemp and leather are perhaps three of the most common materials used in its creation however the list of things that can be turned into macramé is quite long.
Due to the process in which macramé fabric is created individual items of clothing and art must be made one at a time. That is to say you can not create a large sheet of macrame fabric and then cut out individual pieces in this regard macrame is much like knitting.
Macramé is often used in the creation of over shirts and ponchos; as well as accessories like belts, bags and necklaces.
It is thought that macramé originated as a technique used by 13th century Arab weavers as a way to finish and protect the edges of their woven garments. The process evolved over time from simple knotting used to avoid frayed ends to the inclusion of elaborate knotting techniques that became themselves a feature of the garment.
Today macramé is a fairly niche product and items created out of macramé fabric tend to be worn by modern-day members of the hippie movement.